Pretty fair numbers for guests at Westerner

Westerner Days Fair and Exposition saw nearly 2,700 fewer visitors than last year despite three of five days seeing higher attendance levels.

John Harms

Westerner Days Fair and Exposition saw nearly 2,700 fewer visitors than last year despite three of five days seeing higher attendance levels.

A total of 88,061 people filed through the gates at Red Deer’s fair, compared with 2008’s record of 90,757. The event drew more fairgoers Wednesday through Friday, but by Saturday had dropped by 4,700 people from last year. Sunday’s attendance tally was 14,242, down from 16,210 in 2008.

Westerner Park chief executive officer John Harms wasn’t disappointed with this year’s attendance to Central Alberta’s largest summer event.

“We were chasing such a banner year in 2008,” Harms said on Monday. “I was wondering if we would be able to top that. The Saturday (attendance in 2008, of 24,729) was an absolute record. I don’t think we could have gotten another person on the grounds.”

On Saturday, 19,973 people showed up to take in the midway, livestock shows, pony chuckwagon races and Canadian country singer Aaron Pritchett.

Harms figures some people stayed away on Saturday due to the scorching weather. Environment Canada reported 29C at 4 p.m., the highest temperature of the day.

“It felt like 33 C . . . people don’t want to come and walk on the asphalt when it’s hot,” Harms said.

Fewer fairgoers than expected showed up on Family Day on Sunday, he added.

The topsy-turvy weather caused one glitch on the midway. The Ferris wheel was shut down at around 11 p.m. on Saturday due to strong winds.

“Overall, we were delighted,” Harms said. “We received so many positive comments on the entertainment, the relocation of the family area to the Harvest Centre. We know we’re attracting young families from Calgary and Edmonton.”

Organizers begin preparations this week for next year’s event.

Westerner Days top prize winners were Richard Fink of Regina, who received a $5,000 WestJet vacation voucher through the Kinsmen/Kinette Club of Red Deer; and Hilis Plata of Red Deer, who picked up $10,000 from the Central Alberta Lions Club raffle.

The London Drugs pancake breakfasts raised $8,300 for five Central Alberta organizations.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Politicians hitting the road for votes in Alberta election campaign

EDMONTON — After firing up supporters at campaign kickoff events, the leaders… Continue reading

Central Alberta resident launches fantasy board game

Central alberta man launches Kickstarter for board game A central Alberta resident… Continue reading

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read